Questions on my author Facebook Fan Page this month were from folks who are discouraged with the evil all around us and/or discouraged with the bad name that Christians are getting so that others do not want to claim the name of Jesus. I said I would weigh in, which I can do only by telling of my own experience. It is important for us to stay in touch with the things going on in our world, but not to let them suck us in.
I have found that the most effective way is to refocus on God by reviewing God’s “resume!” Review God’s resume by sitting quietly and reflecting on your life and on specific instances of God’s presence, God’s action, and God’s help in your life.
The more trouble you have refocusing on God, the further back in your life you should go, even to your infancy — and then back beyond that, to God’s acts in history and in creation itself!
This kind of prayer focuses your mind on God, attacks worry, and builds trust in your heart. I know. I’ve tried it many times.
When I was having radiation after cancer surgery, I was told by the staff that after it was over, I would be depressed – not might be, but would be. The main reason for that certainty was that for five days a week for six weeks I would be seeing medical providers and having treatments at the hospital. Suddenly all of that would be over, my body would be weakened from the radiation, and the reality of having gone through cancer treatments would finally sink in. This would not be the kind of clinical depression that needs ongoing medication but would be another part of the treatment and healing cycle.
Well, I did get a little bit depressed, and according to my own efforts to control, I “allowed” myself a certain length of time to be depressed. When my depression didn’t lift when I wanted it to, I talked with my pastor.
He said simply, “Praise Him!”
“How weird is that?” I thought to myself. “How is that going to help anything?”
But I began to follow his advice. I had memorized the first few verses of Psalm 103 as a child, and I began to pray that passage whenever I felt depressed or blue:
Bless the Lord, O my soul and all that is within me! Bless God’s holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all God’s benefits, who forgiveth all thine iniquities, who healeth all thy diseases, who redeemeth thy life from destruction, who crowneth thee with loving kindness and tender mercy, who satisfieth thy mouth with good things so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s. Bless the Lord, O my soul and all that is within me! Bless God’s holy name!
Using that prayer of praise and thanksgiving speeded the end of my post-treatment depression. How much more does thanksgiving bring joy and peace into our everyday lives!